Chemo Roundup: April

April 5 – 6.3

Felt great on Friday, worked, cleaned house, went grocery shopping, and only got a little tired in the afternoon (but did not nap). Have been eating well, lots of red meat (stew, pork carnitas, making lamb tagine today). But… had muscle spasms in my abdominal muscles again last night, and have intestinal cramps again today, and a few spasms in my left thigh. Food poisoning not likely this time. Took ibuprofen, we’ll see if that works. I’ve had very broken sleep the last few nights, waking up a lot.

April 6 – 6.4

Slept better last night. Neck and shoulder have been stiff and sore the last few days, going back to my molded memory foam pillow to see if that helps.

2 cups of tea today, not sure that’s a good idea.

Just feel kind of… burnt.

April 7 – 6.6

One of the more annoying side effects is that, whenever I go outside, my eyes start streaming, to the point that my vision is blurry and my face gets irritated from tears. Very tired today, though so far I have not really succeeded in napping.

April 8 – 6.7

Devastatingly tired. Dr L said red cell counts were very low, so I have to have neupogen shots Friday, Monday and Tuesday. In the evening, felt depressed and anxious.

April 9 – 7.1

In the chair again, this time taxol is going ok, though I dislike the high from the pre-meds (antinausea and benadry). Got it all done in about 3.5 hours, was quite productive this afternoon, thanks to the benadryl buzz. Towards evening, some rippling spasms in my colon. Now a bit tired.

Evening: wasn’t hungry much, but ate at 10pm. Now cramps. Mild so far.

April 10 – 7.2

Poor sleep – awake from 4 to 530 I think, dead asleep (also thanks to ambien) when my alarm went off at 8. Went to dermatologist, had two moles frozen (ouch!), then got neupogen shot. Now tired, could be lack of sleep.

Apr 11 – 7.3

Took M to the park, then we parked and walked to eat an unexciting burger. Came home and have been in bed ever since. I don’t quite feel like I really slept, but time is moving faster than I would expect if I had been awake. Sometimes this is very like jet lag.

While we were out and about, I could feel a rushing sensation in my left upper chest (near the port) and upper arm, as if I could feel the blood moving through a vein there.

Apr 12 – 7.4

Slept somewhat better. Temp regulation at night a problem.

Apr 13 – 7.5

Had the 2nd neupogen shot (Brendan drove), this one in my left arm. But I have pain in the right arm, at the site of Friday’s injection. ??? Pretty bad day with fatigue and depression. Actually low enough to watch TV. Once in the evening, stood up and felt dizzy, could hear the blood rushing in my head.

Apr 14 – 7.6

Got a decent night’s sleep and felt a bit better this morning (neupogen increasing white cell counts, perhaps). Managed to drive myself to today’s shot and then grocery shopping. Unpacked groceries, cleaned old stuff out of the fridge, have done a bit of work but, as usual, dead tired after eating.

I get twinges in my chest, maybe around where the end of the catheter sits in the vein.

Apr 16 – 8.1

I was having neuropathy – numbess, tingling, and hot/cold, especially in my feet, before the taxol started. Dr L advised Vits B6 and B12, and they seem to be working! Have had a few occasional tingles since starting taxol, but not bad at all. Infusion went smoothly, started at 1030 ended around 1. Then B drove me over to the hospital to pick up contrast drinks for Monday’s CT scan. Having that because I’m still getting abdominal pain/cramps, occasionally enough to wake me up at night. Dr L says maybe I got something at that Burmese restaurant the night before Taxol started, and because my immune system has been down, it’s lingering on. But… we scan. I felt both stoned/sleepy and wired after infusion, then slept badly – woke up a lot and had trouble sleeping again, in spite of ambien.

Apr 18 – 8.3

I kept waking up due to dry mouth or whatever. This morning I felt good, got some writing done, then Pamela visited, and Meena briefly.

Went out briefly, shopping, and after that I was done in.

My appetite and specific tastes keep changing. I have wasted a lot of food during these months because I’m bad at predicting what I will like and keep on liking (or even be able to stand the smell/taste/thought of). The unpredictability of everything about chemo makes it that much harder.

Just now · Like

Apr 20 – 8.5


CT scan this morning to try to determine why I’m getting abdominal spasms/cramps (which were stronger last night than they had been in a while, reason unclear). This meant waking up at 4:30am to drink a contrast solution, and drinking another at 7:30 just before leaving for the hospital. Then had to also have I/V contrast into my arm. The whole thing was over quickly, Dr L should have results by the time we meet Wednesday. Turns out the contrast drink is a laxative – I have shit more today than at any time since chemo began. Which is tiring and painful, but… at least I’ll be well purged, and constipation should not be a problem for a bit. Cramps continued fairly nasty into the night. Correlated with something I ate? Broccolini twice the day before?

Apr 21 – 8.6

Felt fine this morning until coffee/smoothie. Maybe eliminate caffeine. 10am – Ate a souffle and half a pastry from Panera. Cramps. Tired. slept ~1130-1230

Ate an early dinner (630) and a late one (10), pork tenderloin with apples and onions, mashed potatoes salad. Cramps after, but gone by the time I went to sleep.

Apr 22 – 8.7

This morning had a small espresso around 645, then smoothie (fruit and yogurt) at 945. Felt fine til after smoothie, now tired, burny feeling in stomach/intestine.

1130 – ate toast, egg, ham.

later – CT scan result: severe constipation. Prescription: prunes.

White cells low, will be doing neupogen again next Mon-Weds. Red cells better.

Apr 23 – 9.1

Feeling surprisingly good today.

That lasted most of the day. Dinner was tricky – at first all I could think of that sounded appealing was a smoothie, but I was still hungry. Tried making open-faced goat cheese and chutney sandwiches, but the texture and flavor both turned out unappealing. Then brushed my teeth and my mouth may have bled – seem to have sores developing on the inside of both cheeks. Damn.

Feet and hands a bit burny.

Body temp all over the place, hot and cold flashes.

Apr 24 – 9.2

Restless sleep, probably due to chemo pre-meds (although steroid dose was only 5mg – by my request, half the previous week’s dose). Still a bit wired but also very tired today. Bought some fiber stuff, will try taking it every day, since prunes are not enough for my constipation.

Apr 28

Constipation almost solved, with fiber and prunes. Eating somewhat more, though a lot of it doesn’t taste right. Fatigue getting worse. Before, I could cook. Now I don’t have the energy. Weird chemo side effects (maybe): completely misremembering numbers, and getting songs stuck in my head even more than I used to. Also, blood pounding in my ears sometimes when I stand up.

Apr 29

Dr L says white cell counts high enough that he called off the third Neupogen shot I was to have had today, says this will probably hold me through the next cycle. I complained about problems sleeping the night of chemo, but the steroid dose is already as low as it can go. later: The blood rushing in my ears/neck is sometimes very annoying. Right now my ears are ringing and I have a headache.

Apr 30 – 10.1


my breast cancer story (thus far)

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